Newton header levels it late...
Late drama at the Lamex saw a hard earned point earned for Stevenage against high-flying Luton Town.
James Collins’ penalty looked to win it for the Hatters with less than 10 minutes left in the contest, but the Super Boro rallied and Danny Newton headed in late to even things up with just minutes to go.
It was the least that Stevenage deserved after a strong performance, especially in a gripping second half.
Darren Sarll made just the one change to the starting XI from last Saturday’s defeat, as skipper Ronnie Henry returned to the side.
There were two Stevenage home debuts including veteran striker Alex Revell and creative spark Johnny Goddard, who both joined the side in late January.
Both teams appeared well up for the contest during the early stages as the game was played at a high tempo. With the two sets of fans eagerly behind their teams, the game was full of commitment and plenty of energy.
Jonathan Smith had the first chance in the 11th minute for Stevenage, as his close range effort just went over the bar after latching on the end of Mark McKee’s free-kick.
New boy Alex Revell caused all sorts of problems for the Luton defence, both in the air and on the floor, as the 34-year-old refused to stop chasing down any loose balls.
Luton's Jervis had the first clear-cut chance of the game in the 30th minute, when the ball fell nicely to him from a set piece, but his effort went well over the bar from inside the box.
Finding the opening through ball proved to be difficult for Darren Sarll’s men, despite continuous good work in and around the box by the Stevenage forwards.
The clearest chances came to Luton and Jake Jervis had a second opportunity to give the visitors the lead, after Harry Cornick broke free down the right flank and crossed into the box.
Boro's first sub of the game came earlier than planned, as Jack King made way for Fraser Franks, after a collison with one of his own teammates forced him off.
The Hatters enjoyed the better of the first half but with little in it, the game went into the break at 0-0.
Stevenage hit the ground running in the second half, with an early chance as Alex Revell’s flicked header just narrowly looping past the post in only the 46th minute.
Just minutes later the boys were at it again, with Johnny Goddard twisting and turning his way into the box to play in Alex Revell, but the forward failed to get the right connection in front of goal.
Darren Sarll’s half-time team talk certainly seemed to lift the boys as they started the second half by far the better team and giving the visiors plenty of scares at the back.
First half threat Jake Jervis was the first substitution for the visitors, as Andrew Shinnie replaced the wide midfielder in the 59th minute.
Stevenage continued to push and test the stubborn Luton defence, but kept failing to find the end product in the final third of the pitch.
Luton grew back into the game after a slow start to the second half, but failed to get through the Boro defensive line on numerous occasions as young Ben Wilmot was sweeping up any fallen balls.
Stevenage made their second change in the 71st minute as Luke Amos came off for Ben Kennedy.
Revell had a great chance to give Boro the lead as he came inches away from heading in Franks' flick-on following a Mark McKee free-kick.
Johnny Goddard continued to weave his way around the Luton defenders and got himself into a good shooting position in the 75th minute, but his effort was blocked.
Darren Sarll played his ace with 10 minutes to go as Danny Newton came on for Matty Godden but it was all soon to turn sour.
Against the run of play, the Hatters were awarded a penalty in the 82nd minute after James Collins was deemed to have been brought down by Ronnie Henry, after a loose ball was latched onto by the striker.
Despite strong appeals from the Stevenage players, the decision was made and Collins sent King to the wrong way to make it 0-1.
Minutes later, Stevenage were finally rewarded for their hard work as Danny Newton rose above the rest to convert fellow substitute Ben Kennedy's corner, to send the Lamex into raptures and bring the score back level.
It was almost a dream finish as Boro continue to push, Mark McKee sending Ben Kennedy through on goal who finised with aplomb, only to see the offside flag up.
In the end, Stevenage took away a point from the league leaders after an enthralling game of football at the Lamex Stadium.
Attendance: 4365 (1889 away)